December 1916

3rd Grenadier Guards – War Diary

1 Dec 1916 The Battalion moved by march route from FORKED TREE CAMP to a camp at MALTZHORN FARM just S. of TRONES WOOD. The camp was not a good one consisting of tents (French pattern) and it was difficult to get ???????? up to it. Bn took it over direct from the French.The system adopted from this period onwards may be summarised as follows:-The Division was split into two groups each of 6 Battalions.
The Rt. group consisted of 1st Gds Bde, 1st Coldstream Guards + 2nd Bn Irish Gds
The Lt. group consisted of 3rd Gds Bde + 3rd Bn Grenadier Guards and 1st Bn Scots Gds.The Brigade system was in abeyance and battalions worked the line in a regular cycle always going and returning to the same camp or position in the line.

All blankets and cookers were made camp stores to reduce work of transport. Cookers and blankets of this Battalion were left at MALTZHORN FARM.

Albert 1/40,000
2 Dec 1916 Bn marched off at 2.15 p.m. and marched via TRONES WOOD, GUILLEMONT + COMBLES to HAIE WOOD where French guides met it. Coys were disposed as follows Rt: No 3 Coy Centre No 2 Coy Left No 4 Coy Support No 1 Coy. The Bn sector was N of SAILLY-SAILLISEL and S of MORVAL. It’s delimitations were roughly from U.2.C.1.2 – U.1.d.4U.65.Bn took over and held the line exactly as the French did. The ground had only recently been captured by the French and they had consequently worked there to organise it properly. The parapets were extremely thin, there were few if any firesteps, a long C.T. was in progress of construction but communication with front was entirely overground and ????? there was not a single strand of wire on our frontage. The enemy was between 80-100 yards away from our left Coy.As our left Company was in the middle of its relief and some of our sentries hardly on the firestep 40 -50 Germans attempted to raid on our left. They got right up to the parapet and shot a French machine gunner who was sitting on the saddle of his ???.The remainder of the gun team retreated hastily down a small C.Trench where they met O.C. No 4 Coy who endeavored to turn them back without success. As there was no wire and the M.G. was not in action the enemy was ?????? to seize it and carry it off. Rapid fire was however opened by us and any further development of the attack was frustrated. This raid was supported by barrage fire just on front line. 57 C.S.W.
1/20,0002 K 2 Wd
2/3rd
3 Dec 1916 A patrol on the evening of the 3rd found the bodies of 7 Germans belonging to a “Storm section” of the 123rd Grenadier Regiment and near one body, close to our parapet the French Machine Gun. This gun was subsequently returned undamaged to the French. 2 Killed
8 wounded
3rd
4 Dec 1916 The remainder of the tour passed without incident, work being devoted to thickening the parapet and making firesteps as this was the most urgent. The sapping platoon worked on the C.T. and established connection with the front although in places trench was extremely shallow.
5 Dec 1916 The Bn was relieved by 4th Bn Grenadier Guards on the night of 5/6th and marched to MALTZHORN FARM. Last company arrived at 2.30 am.
6 – 8 Dec 1916 Entrained at 10.30 am at TRONES WOOD siding and detrained at PLATEAU railhead (near MARICOURT). Marched into camp at BRONFAY FARM (on main MARICOURT-BRAY road about mid-way between two places). A fairly good hutted camp. Albert 1/40,000
9 – 10 Dec 1916 On afternoon of 9th moved by march route to BOULEAUX WOOD area. 1 Coy in BOIS DORE in shelters and dug-outs, 1 Coy BOULEAUX WOOD, 1 Coy in dug-outs at HAIE WOOD. Rains setting in. 1 O.R. wd
10th
11 Dec 1916 Moved into the line relieving 1st Bn Grenadier Guards. raining. Condition of the trenches indescribable. Men had to be dug-out on the way up and in the trench by far the majority had to stand in mud above the knee, some with it above the waist. The parapet had fallen in a dissolved along a great part of our frontage. The sector held by the Battalion had altered somewhat and was now from U.1.d.7.6 – U.8.a.6.6. 1 killed 11th
12 – 14 Dec 1916 The weather conditions got still worse. It was intensely cold and the rain was punctuated with scuds of snow and sleet. Work was concentrated on attempting to keep the parapet up and in digging out the bottom. it was decided to hold the front line in “islands” and concentrate work upon these. 4 O.R. wd 12th
1 killed 5 wd 13th
1 killed 2 wd 14th
15 Dec 1916 On the night of 14/15th the Battalion was moved back to BOULEAUX WOOD. The men were in the most exhausted condition, being encased in mud up to their armpits and wet through. There was a number of cases of “Trench foot”. On the morning of the 15th the Bn moved by march route to TRONES WOOD siding where it entrained and went to camp at BRONFAY FARM.
16 Dec 1916 Overhaul of arms and equipment. Clothing made up. Some men who had been pulled out of the mud had lost their boots and in one case a man was dug and pulled out and then found deficient of his boots, socks and trousers.
17 Dec 1916 Moved to BOULEAUX WOOD area by train and march route.
18 Dec 1916 Fatigues by carrying and making dug-outs found. 1 killed 18th
19 – 21 Dec 1916 Relieved 1st Bn in the line. From this date tours were 48 hours. Conditions in the line had improved and there was a very hard frost on the 19th, 20th & 21st. As much use was made of this as possible as it facilitated carrying and work very greatly. A trench board track had been completed (by sapping platoons) as far as support line.Work was concentrated on the islands. Two large sump pits were dug by each islands 1 platoon held each of these.Sandbag revetments were begun. tench boards were laid in all islands. Some successful sumping done.On night of 21/22nd were relieved by 4th Battn and marched to TRONES WOOD, entraining there at 2.0 am for BRONFAY FARM. 2 killed 4 wd
20th
22 Dec 1916 BRONFAY FARM.
23 – 24 Dec 1916 Moved to MALTZHORN FARM camp. Held class in “revetting” on 24th.
25 Dec 1916 Relieved 1st Bn in the line. Islands worked on. Further revetments constructed.
26 Dec 1916 Night of 26/27th devoted to wiring. Whole Battalion went out. Entanglements put up to cover all islands and all gaps except one between them. Some very successful sniping done on morning of 26th. Stretcher parties of enemy came into the open to remove casualties under cover of a large red X flag. Trench ?homes? led ?mainly? in front  line by this time
27 Dec 1916 Relieved on night of 27/28th by 4th Bn and went to BRONFAY FARM as on 21st. 1 O.R. wounded 27th
28 Dec 1916 BRONFAY FARM
29 – 30 Dec 1916 Moved by train to MALTZHORN FARM. Torrential rains. Training at the same.
31 Dec 1916 Relieved 1st Bn. Islands had stood the wet very fairly well and were habitable. 2 islands of rt Coy & 2 of Centre Coy had been joined up.

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